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Game Day Menu

Image courtesy of floodllama on flickr, used under Creative Commons License.

I have been thinking about food at the game table. Recently in one of my gaming groups two of us have been taking it in turns to host the game night and we've been having different types of food on our respective nights. He's a really good cook and has been doing ribs and chicken wings while I've been largely sticking to either traditional chips and dips or serving oven baked snacks or most recently antipasto with crackers and bread. This has all been working fine and I'm not complaining but after hearing game food mentioned on a podcast today (the Dungeon Master Guys since you asked, search iTunes for it) I've been thinking about game night food and maybe trying to shake it up a bit.

Now I'm all for pizza, chips, dip and soft drink so I'm not thinking that I'll be dropping those. I'm just thinking of experimenting with a few different things to see if they work.

However not all food types are suitable for ingesting at the game table. When eating ribs we take a break from the action to save sauce getting on all our papers, but it doesn't really detract from the game that much. However something like a steak with potatoes and salad is probably going to impact the game and is probably best done before or after the game. A bowl of soup is probably going to impact the game also, but a bowl of stew might not, depending on how you serve it.

Some of the snacks that fit easily into your hand and can be easily picked up from a bowl and put in your mouth, perhaps after being dipped in something, seem to be the most suited to working at a game table. This can lead to issues with communal food bowls though, especially if you have a finger licker in the group.

Another consideration is to try to make game night snacks a little more healthy. This isn't actually something that is necessary if you're getting a balanced diet on non game days. I don't mind having a bit more grease than usual during a game, however I do sometimes get indigestion after a game where I've been GMing and talking for hours straight while piling stuff into my mouth so I might think about that side of things.

Then we have themed foods, and I mean RPG themed. We're playing a science fiction game at the moment so I guess that protein bars and dried foods would be the order of the day. For a medieval fantasy game we could have dwarven stew, stale bread and cheese, or Otik's Fried Spiced Potatoes. If fact there were a whole load of Dragonlance themed recipes in two of the books that TSR released that I still have on my bookshelf.

I'm not sure that I want to think about the World of Darkness themed menu, nor if we were playing All Flesh Must Be Eaten.

But rather than over think it further I'll put down a few ideas for what I could do over the next few weeks and in future posts report what I did and how it went down with the group. It shouldn't be a shock to them when they sit down to play as it's all here on the blog.

Just to start...

Alternative Bite Sized Thing and Dip

  • Falafel with yogurt or garlic dip. I love these, especially home made.
  • Koftas and mint yogurt dip.
  • Sausage Rolls and Ketchup.
  • Party Pies
  • Unusual Pizzas
  • Bruschetta

Winter Warmers (it's currently winter down here in the southern hemisphere)

  • Stew
  • Roast Meat
  • Potato Bake
  • Pasta Bake
  • Bake

Themed Food

  • Dwarven Meatballs
  • Dwarven Stew
  • Tavern Food (tapas?)
  • Protein Bars and Dinner in a Tube
  • Where can you get whole pheasant for roasting in Western Australia?
  • Elven Granola
  • Baked Beans for a Western Game
  • Scraps out of the bin for a Post Apocalyptic Game (maybe not)
  • Strawberries (Serenity RPG!)

These will do for starters. Does anybody else have any good ideas that they are willing to share?

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  1. Hmmm…

    For DnD and the like, game meat could be good. Or joints of meat on the bone. With big, crusty loaves of bread. I do have a Guiness beef recipe that would work well, too.

    If you are going desecrate your plate with plant matter, big roasted potatoes maybe.

    Some dark ale served in a stein (serving wenches if you can swing it without getting killed by the significant other). I’ve also got some mead we can try. 🙂

    For Traveller: the Babylon5 cookbook, serving drinks in flasks and beakers (I was thinking of getting some for Halloween anyway). And take some ideas from Heston and/or the Cooking for Geeks cookbook for the “scientific” approach to food.

    Damn, now I’m hungry.

    PS, I found a place for wild boar in Perth, still working on the pheasant.

    • All good ideas.

      Yes I made myself hungry while writing this. Then I ate apple pie. And promptly forgotten to include any sweet dishes here. I’ll do a post on those at a later date.

      • A few more:

        Freeze dried “astronaut food” (sci-fi)
        Dried ice in drink or for effect. (sci-fi or horror/gothic)
        Liquid nitrogen ice cream (bit more effort for that one). (sci-fi)
        Beef jerky (DnD)

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  2. I love the idea of themed foods. I reckon the suggestions you made on that front would not only be fun as an ‘extension of the game’ type thing, but they sound damn tasty too.

    I once hosted a MTG night for some friends when we were drafting the ‘Coldsnap’ set. I didn’t make them all eat icy-poles (we actually had awesome homecooked curries), but I did buy a bunch of translucent coloured dice, and freeze them in ice cubes. It was just a novelty to make the night a bit more fun, and people seemed to enjoy it – everybody likes free dice!

    • Everybody does like free dice 😉

      I completely forgot about curries. Also Moroccan food would be great for a desert campaign. I always imagined the Haradrim would eat Moroccan food, maybe because of the resemblance between Middle Earth and Europe.

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